Match Report: CI do enough to down the Dee
CIYMS 1st XV welcomed Donaghadee to Belmont for the first home game of the season, looking to bounce back from an away defeat and under-par performance against Portadown the week before.
The recent mix of downpours and sunshine meant that the Belmont playing surface was in excellent condition and a sizeable home crowd were anticipating an exciting game in the late summer sunshine.
A hamstring injury to Matt McGuigan meant a 1st XV debut for Jordan Boyd at number ten, with Neil Wallace moving in to scrum half to replace late withdrawal Dan McVicker who picked up an injury in training.
CI started well with the lineout functioning much better than last week.
A line break by CI fullback Robin Brown, coming off a strong rolling maul, saw him feed Neil Wallace who went over for the first score of the day. The conversion from Boyd struck the upright to leave the score at 5-0.
The CI scrum was in indomitable form on both home and away put-ins, yet the pressure yielded next to no penalties from the referee.
An attacking 5 metre scrum to CI deep in the first half was to have only one likely outcome.
A powerful surge from the home side meant that number eight Hackney had a simple job to touch down for the pushover try. The conversion was missed to make the score 10-0.
Halftime: CIYMS 10 – 0 Donaghadee
CI were in a strong position to push on in the second half but the halftime message about game plan and discipline must have fallen on deaf ears.
Successive penalties, poor decisions and some good play by the Dee saw the visitors cross for their first points out wide despite a strong call for crossing that was ignored by the official.
A short time later after an unnecessary CI turnover, Dee outhalf McKenzie spotted a kink in the defensive line which he exploited to tie the scores. The conversion was added to give Dee a 12-10 lead.
CI were now spurred into action as they found themselves trailing in a game which had been fairly comfortable up to that point.
After an extended period of play in the middle of the park, CI won a lineout inside the Dee half and set off on a lengthy catch and drive. Dee defenders fell by the wayside as the maul was recycled repeatedly by the home pack as they surged towards the try line. There was an outside chance of a penalty try when the maul was collapsed illegally deep in the Dee 22.
CI opted for the kick at goal and fullback Robin Brown stepped up to convert and put CI back into the lead 13-12.
With 7 mins to go another surge into the Dee half saw scrum half Wallace go blind from the ruck and feed centre McCausland who dashed in at the corner.
The conversion was missed to leave the score at 18-12. CI remained strong against the Dee threat in the remaining few minutes and the visiting team opted to take a losing bonus point for their efforts by kicking the ball out to end the game.
Fulltime: CIYMS 18 – 12 Donaghadee
A good win by CI in an exciting spectacle of Q1 rugby. CI and the home fans will have felt that with better decision making and adherence to the game plan the home side could have captured a bonus point and a more comfortable win.
Man of the match goes to Neil Wallace for his involvement in CI’s attacking play, closely followed by a joint bid from the CI front five who dominated the set piece all day against a somewhat depleted Dee pack.
CI now look forward to welcoming another top 4 side to Belmont with the visit of Clogher Valley next Sat.